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Property of 
The Hilla von Rebay Foundation 




Plate i. self-portrait. About 1886. Pencil 

The Art Institute of Chicago (Arthur Heun Fund) 




text by 


Curator of Paintings 
The Metro folitan Museum of Art , New York 

published by HARRY N. ABRAMS, INC., in association 
with POCKET BOOKS, INC., New Yor\ 


Copyright 1953 by Harry N. Abrams, Incorporated. Copyright 
in the United States and foreign countries under International 
Copyright Convention. All rights reserved under Pan-American 
Convention. No part of the contents of this book may be repro- 
duced without the written permission of Harry N. Abrams, 
Incorporated. Printed in U.S.A. MILTON S. FOX, Editor 

Plate 2. study OF oranges. 1895-1900. Water color 
Collection Carroll S. Tyson, Philadelphia 


Cezanne devoted his life entirely to painting. It was 
not until his last years that he was understood and ad- 
mired by a small group of painters and one or two far- 
sighted collectors and dealers. But in the half-century 
which has passed since his death, his influence has domi- 
nated almost every movement of modern painting. 

He was born in 1839 in Aix-en-Provence, a provincial 
town in southern France. His father, a self-made man, 
started as a hat maker and became one of the most promi- 
nent bankers of the town. It was thanks to the money he 
left his family that Paul was able to continue painting in 
spite of his failure to sell any of his work until just before 
the end of his life. His father had wanted him to enter 

the family business and sent him to law school. But the 
boy had made up his mind to be a painter; and after many 
family arguments, and one false start, he was given an 
allowance and sent to study art in Paris. 

There he joined Emile Zola, his closest boyhood friend, 
and together they became part of the group of young 
artists who lived the Bohemian life and planned to revo- 
lutionize the traditions of painting. Among their friends 
were the men who have become famous as the greatest 
painters of their day: Manet, Degas, Renoir, and Monet. 

Cezanne worked in Paris or in the country nearby and 
spent much time with his friends in the cafes theorizing 
about the "new" style of painting. Each year he sub- 
mitted a painting to the Salon, but he was always turned 
down. He also showed his work in the independent ex- 
hibitions which his group of friends organized and which 
earned for them the name "Impressionists." Not only the 
critics, but also the public laughed at the paintings; and 
with the exception of an isolated few, no one understood 
them. People of every period in history have certain visual 
habits acquired from what they are used to seeing around 
them; and in the second half of the nineteenth century, 
these habits were formed by the works of the old 
masters, discolored and darkened by yellow varnish, and 
by the Salon painters who imitated them. As a result, 
the bright colors used by the young painters seemed 
harsh, and their fresh, unconventional drawing awkward. 
Cezanne's paintings, perhaps because of their intense con- 
viction, attracted more attention, and drew more abuse 
and ridicule than those of the other members of the group. 
The hostility of both critics and public was among the 
most important factors in Cezanne's life and had a pro- 
found effect on his character and painting. He returned 
to Aix and, except for occasional trips to Paris, he re- 
mained there until his death in 1906. 

He took his profession very seriously, as seriously as 

Plate 3. Below: ecorche (flayed 
man), an anatomical study figure 
once attributed to Michelangelo 

Pencil. The Art Institute of Chi- 
cago (Arthur Heun Fund) 

Plate 4. THE bridge at gardanne. 1885-86. Water color. Museum of 

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I 1 




terw ^r/, M?w 7or£ fLtfti* P. 5/iw Collection) 

any businessman, doctor, or lawyer, devoting himself 
exclusively to it and working with tremendous energy. 
His integrity was absolute, and he made no concessions 
to public taste or fashion at any time in his life. Deeply 
cultivated and widely read, he related all his artistic 
experiences, whether musical or literary, to painting. Far 
from wishing to break with tradition, he respected it and 
ceaselessly studied the work of the old masters, copying 
and sketching in the Louvre daily when he was in Paris. 
His chief ambition was to add his own contribution to 
the great tradition of painting. The complete failure of all 
but a few artists and friends to understand even the 
seriousness of his purpose was a terrible shock to him. 
He withdrew increasingly into himself until he became a 
misanthrope and almost a hermit. 

Fortunately, he never completely lost his belief in him- 
self, and his paintings bear witness to his profound con- 
viction as to the importance of what he was doing. His 
early work is full of exuberance and romanticism, with 
a tendency to overstatement. Then for a while he worked 
under the influence of Impressionism, but he soon became 
aware of its structural weaknesses and began to subject 
himself to severe self-discipline. His mature paintings, for 
which he has become famous, are carefully planned and 
methodically constructed. If they are compared with the 
work of other painters, Cezanne's pictures strike us by 
their simplicity and directness. They do not invite us to 
enter into them and move from one element to another 
as do the Dutch little masters, for instance. They put over 
their message in a single statement like a fresco by Giotto. 

His choice of subject matter was surprisingly limited. 
Within the usual categories of portraits, landscape, still 
life, and figure composition, he chose certain arrange- 
ments and concentrated on them, repeating them over 
and over again with slight variations. The subject was 
important to him chiefly as a. means of expressing a 

mood. A landscape may be serene or gay or have a real 
sense of tragedy; even a still life made up of everyday 
objects will give out a feeling of grandeur and austerity. 
His portraits, though at first sight aloof and distant, are 
remarkably sensitive to the emotional state of the sitter. 

The final and permanent quality of Cezanne's composi- 
tions is due in great part to their concentrated unity. Re- 
gardless of any traditionally accepted rules, such as those 
of scientific perspective, the different parts of the painting 
are rearranged so that they complement each other and 
build up to a compact architectural structure standing 
solidly on its own. This is true whether the picture is 
considered as a flat surface or as a scene in depth. Even 
his many uncompleted paintings show these traits. In 
their clarity and order, combined with inner vitality, his 
compositions belong to the great classical tradition. 

Fundamentally, Cezanne's nature was passionate and 
romantic, and it was through color that he expressed his 
true feelings. Among the old masters, he always pro- 
claimed his preference for the great colorists: Titian, 
Tintoretto, Veronese, Rubens, Delacroix. His statements 
on color could be taken as a key to his method: "Every- 
thing is in the composition of the colors. Go to the 
Louvre and see. That is how Veronese composes." He 
was most sensitive to the expressive power of color and 
used it as the dominant factor in establishing the mood 
of his pictures. He spoke of the "colors of friendship," 
of "evil color," and of how by "marrying a shade of green 
to a red, one can either sadden a cheek or make it smile." 
The luminosity and infinite variety of his color is remark- 
able. Most other painters mix a local tone and apply it 
throughout a given passage. Cezanne seems to create a 
subtle change in almost every brush stroke. Thanks to 
this, each square inch of his canvas has vitality. There is 
never a flat, dull passage. In this, he is akin to the great 
colorists he admired, but his particular method is his own 

Plate 6. Above: Detail from Rubens* landing of marie de medicis, 
with (below) Cezanne* s study therefrom. About 1882. Pencil 
Collection the artist's family , Paris 

and remains one of the most original aspects of his art. 

Line, pure abstract line, unlike anything in nature, is 
an important part of Cezanne's method. It gives accent 
to shapes, such as folds of drapery, tree trunks, or moun- 
tains. Sometimes he draws several lines with the brush, 
usually with blue pigment, all repeating the outline and 
resulting in a curious effect of visual vibration which 
gives added life to a particular color passage. 

Like El Greco, Cezanne used his brush stroke both as a 
means of emphasizing the structure of his picture and of 
giving vitality to its surface. Sometimes movement is 
given to the composition by the general direction of the 
strokes. Sometimes differences of texture are brought out, 
not by an imitation of reality but by a change of stroke in 
contrast to adjacent areas. Different moods are also 
brought out, free and gay, quiet and orderly, harsh and 
violent. To the lover of Cezanne's paintings, this is one 
of their most enjoyable qualities. 

Each of these elements was studied for its effect with 
infinite care. No painter was more methodical than 
Cezanne. In this respect, he comes close to Diirer and 
stands at the opposite pole from the carefree facility of 
Velasquez or the passionate outbursts of Van Gogh. He 
spent many more hours looking and thinking than he did 
painting. People who watched him say that he sometimes 
waited as long as twenty minutes between two strokes of 
his brush. He himself said that there were days when he 
looked at his subject so long that he felt "as if his eyes 
were bleeding." Some pictures took months to finish. 

Despite their simplicity there is nothing obvious or 
poster-like about them. They must be looked at again and 
again with sustained attention before they completely 
reveal their beauty. But like other things in life which 
require real effort, they are the more richly rewarding 
ecause of it and offer an endless source of enjoyment 

those who are willing to take the trouble. 


Plate 7. nude woman. About i8 95 . Wash drawing 
The Louvre \ Paris 




Painted, about 1866 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Ira Hauft y New York 

25 5 A x **Va 

This portrait is a typical example of Cezanne's youthful 
work. His uncle posed for him dressed up as a monk in a 
white cowl, and one feels that the young artist enjoyed 
painting the picture in which there is a certain sardonic 
humor underlying the theatrical effect. The idea of this 
forceful and sensual-looking person renouncing the 
world to enter a religious order appealed to the romantic 
side of Cezanne's nature which was dominant at this 
time, when he painted many story-telling pictures, with 
titles such as The Rape, The Murder, The Orgy. This 
contrast is brought out in the color scheme: areas of rich, 
dark flesh color hemmed in on all sides by cold greys and 
whites. The brush stroke also contributes. It is rough and 
free, much of the paint being applied with the palette 
knife. Cezanne, under the influence of Courbet, deliber- 
ately used it to get away from the oily, over-finished 
surface of the fashionable Salon paintings which he 
despised. The broad and simple composition foreshadows 
his later work. Here the forms of head and hands already 
begin to be reduced to basic oval shapes repeated, as in 
the hood and the face, and emphasized by strong black 


Painted about 1870 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Edward G. Robinson, 
Beverly Hills, California 

2i 1 /i x 28H" 

This is an early example of Cezanne's efforts to express 
human emotion by means of the simplest subject matter. 
Painted while he was still young and preoccupied with 
romantic ideas, this canvas depends for its effect on a 
series of contrasts. In the still life the fantastic shape 
of the shell with its gaping red mouth contrasts with 
everyday objects, such as the clock, vase, and coffee cup. 
The violent oppositions of light and dark give the pic- 
ture a dramatic look— possibly Cezanne deliberately 
omitted the hands of the clock to add a feeling of sus- 
pense. The color scheme of a broad, whitish expanse sur- 
mounted by sharp accents of red and yellow, all set 
against a blue-black background, emphasizes this mood. 
The brushwork is broad and rather rough, showing the 
influence of Manet, who was greatly admired by Cezanne 
and his friends at this time. 

The combination of these elements gives the picture 
a feeling of intense conviction, a quality which Cezanne's 
work retained throughout his life. 


Painted in i8y 5 

Collection Lord Victor Rothschild, Cambridge, England 
18% x 14%" 

Victor Chocquet was a minor customs official who loved 
painting, had a collection of Delacroix, and bought the 
work of Cezanne and Renoir while they were still ignored 
or despised by the critics and the public. Both artists 
painted him; Cezanne did five times. This little painting 
was probably intended as a sketch, and no effort is 
made to treat the sitter in detail; nevertheless, it is suc- 
cessful in portraying a reserved, sensitive, and inde- 
pendent personality. 

In its bright coloring and in the broad dabs of paint 
of approximately equal size, this picture shows the in- 
fluence of Pissarro, with whom Cezanne was working at 
this time. However, it already shows certain elements of 
Cezanne's mature style. These are the clarity of defini- 
tion of the objects in the picture, and the reduction of 
these to simple, basic shapes— chiefly rectangular— which 
are repeated. Another of these elements is the emphasis 
on the surface: the two-dimensional composition of the 
painting. Although the figure is convincingly modeled 
in the round, the treatment of the colors and the way in 
which different forms are brought together bind it to 
the background so that the integrity of the surface is 
never broken. 


Plate 12. mont sainte-victoire (commentary follows color flate si 

k t 



Fainted about 1885 

Brooklyn Museum^ New York 

Cezanne loved to paint this little village perched on 
a hilltop a few miles south of Aix, where he had spent 
some time with his wife and baby at the time when his 
family still refused to agree to his marriage. The roof 
tops of the houses, leading up gradually to the church 
which stands above them, gave him a wonderful oppor- 
tunity to paint the sort of clear and solid composition 
which he preferred. Each house and tree is like an archi- 
tectural element built into a larger structure. 

The unfinished state of the picture gives an interest- 
ing insight into Cezanne's working method. It shows 
how carefully his picture was planned, so that in spite 
of being incomplete, its basic structure and balance are 
already established. In the areas which have been barely 
touched by the brush, we see how he began with a slight 
transparent wash, subtly varied in tone, and then gradu- 
ally added to this, using a new shade for almost every 
stroke. The areas of uncovered canvas with their light, 
almost stenographic touches of the brush give the pic- 
ture a gaiety and carefree quality which is rare in his 
more finished works. 


Painted 1883-1887 

Collection Henry P. Mclllhenny, Germantown^ Pa. 
24^/k x 20%" 

Little is known about Cezanne's married life. He met his 
wife during the early days in Paris, and soon afterward 
their son was born. Cezanne stuck to her in spite of his 
father's disapproval, and after a few years he finally 
obtained his parent's consent to the marriage. However, 
they gradually drifted apart, and toward the end of his 
life they were completely separated. 

One need do no more than look at the sad and plain- 
tive face in this portrait to know that she was not happy. 
We wonder how much her long-suffering expression may 
be due to having been forced to pose too long. Cezanne 
was terribly tyrannical in this respect and insisted on 
complete immobility; he said: "Sit like an apple. Does an 
apple move?" 

The painting combines sensitivity to human feeling 
with formalized abstract design, particularly in the pure 
linear oval outline of the face. The soft curving lines of 
the dress, which are repeated in the hair, give a certain 
tender grace to the picture. This is also the result of the 
over-all harmony of pale blues and pinks. 

portion of plate 75 (open page opposite) 


Painted i8go—i8g2 

The Louvre, Paris 

IjY\ X 22]/l" 

The subject of this painting of two peasants playing cards 
was probably inspired by a similar composition by one of 
the brothers Le Nain, French painters of the seventeenth 
century whose work Cezanne admired. He painted sev- 
eral versions of the subject, and there are numerous 
study drawings for both of the figures in this picture. 
His models were peasants from the neighboring farms, 
and he has painted them with a deep understanding of 
the simplicity and strength of their characters. There 
are no picturesque story- telling details; yet their thought- 
ful faces and bent shoulders tell us all about them, 
almost as if we were reading a chapter in Balzac. 
The character of the peasants is emphasized by the 
use of arbitrary shadows to strengthen outlines, as in 
the head and hat of the man on the right. The rich 
color harmony of reddish browns and blues is wonder- 
fully suited to the representation of these men whose 
lives are devoted to working the land. The composition, 
made up of a series of interlocking triangles and 
rectangles, has a weight and solidity which also makes 
an important contribution to the general character of 
the picture. 


Painted about 1885- 1887 

Museum of Modem Art, New York 
50 x 38%" 

All through his life Cezanne studied the nude figure and 
wanted to master it. When he was not copying paintings 
in the Louvre, he was sketching statues like The Slaves 
of Michelangelo or the Milo of Puget. Sometimes he 
sketched his own friends or soldiers bathing. However, 
owing probably to his extreme shyness, he refused to hire 
models. This made it impossible for him to analyze the 
human body as thoroughly as he did the forms of in- 
animate objects, which he could keep before him in- 

This Bather is full of contrasting elements. It is realis- 
tic in the painting of the bathing trunks, the awkward 
anatomy, and differences in skin color. Some of the 
forms, such as the head, the shoulders and arms, are 
simplified almost to the abstract, and Cezanne has con- 
centrated on reducing certain shapes to near geometric 
forms, the spaces between the arms and the body, for 
instance. The resulting effect, in spite of a certain hesi- 
tating and awkward quality, is serious and strong and 
leads us to believe that if he had attained the ideal for 
which he was striving, it might have had some resem- 
blance to a Greek statue of the archaic period. 


l " llLl 


Fainted 188 3-1887 

The Louvre, Paris 
24 x igY^" 

Cezanne rarely succeeded in producing the feeling of 
brightness and gaiety which radiates from this beautiful 
picture. The subject— a vase, a bottle, some flowers and 
fruit— he painted many times; but here, as always, the 
new arrangement has a distinct personality of its own. 

The mood of the picture is due to its color scheme. 
The prevailing tone of blue against which they are set 
gives extraordinary intensity to the red, green, and yellow 
tones and, by contrast, makes it possible for the light 
foreground and strip to the right to bring the feeling of 
sunshine into the picture. The infinite variety of texture, 
tone, and intensity which Cezanne has given to the one 
color blue shows how great a colorist he was. Though 
setting a blue vase and blue irises against a blue back- 
ground, he has made the different objects stand out as 
sharply as if they were set against a complementary 
color. The comparative lack of finish and the broken 
outlines of the apples to the right and of the bottle con- 
tribute indirectly to concentrating attention on the vase 
and the flowers, the outlines of which are sharp and 

Plate 18. still life with basket OF apples (commentary follozvi 




flate section) 


Painted in 1888 

Collection William A. M. Burden, Washington , D. C. 

Views of buildings, seen in the distance through an 
alley of trees, have been treated by landscape painters of 
all periods. Cezanne's interpretation of this subject is 
full of poetry. We feel the sunlight on the pink court- 
yard before the houses, the rich, waving foliage, and the 
cool shadows in the alley. And yet, we find that the 
canvas has an architectural structure in surface and in 
depth quite different from the work of other painters. 
The trees form a solid mass on either side of the alley; 
and although we have an impression of distance, the 
perspective lines of the alley have been treated so as to 
bring the buildings forward and to prevent completely 
any feeling of real distance, of a hole in the middle of the 
canvas. We are made conscious of the entire scene at 
one time. We are not invited in to wander about, as we 
would be in a landscape by Hobbema, for instance. The 
same effect is created by the color. The greens and blues 
in the trees are close in intensity to the colors of the 
houses, which minimizes the effect of distance and pro- 
duces an over-all pattern, somewhat like a tapestry, on 
the surface of the canvas. 

portion of plate 20 (open page opposite) 


Painted 1895— 1900 

The Louvre, Paris 
26 x 31%" 

This still life is characteristic of Cezanne's mature work. 
Of all his paintings it is one of the most serene in spirit 
and the most perfectly balanced in execution. There are 
no strains, no sharp contrasts; all the problems have been 
successfully solved. It is a complete statement. 

The color harmony is restrained and subtle. There are 
no brilliant colors. The soft pinks and greens of the 
onions blend easily with the atmospheric blue of the 
background. The drawing is unusually effortless. All the 
outlines are continuous and flowing, from the curves of 
the table front to the graceful onion stems which lead the 
eye upward into the blue. And yet there is no lack of 
strength. The table is a solid base for the composition. 
There is real body to the drapery, and each onion is 
defined with clarity and modeled convincingly in the 
round. The bottle has the stability of a column. 

The noblest human sentiment has been expressed by 
means of the humblest subject matter. A painting such 
as this might well inspire what one critic said of 
Cezanne during his lifetime: "He is a Greek of the great 


Painted about i8go 

Collection Stefhen C. Clark, New York 
3 6 l /2 x 28V2" 

Of all Cezanne's portraits this is the most elegant. It has 
none of the impassivity or the unhappiness which char- 
acterize the other pictures he painted of his wife. Here 
her expression is attentive and tender, and the whole 
picture gives out a feeling of gentleness, almost of 

This is due chiefly to the drawing, which is composed 
of smoothly flowing curves combined in a pattern of oval 
shapes repeated in the head, the arms and clasped hands, 
and the branches of the tree. The roundness of the head, 
of the neck and the bust is repeated in the potted palm 
and in the flowers. Except for the head and shoulders, 
on which attention is concentrated, the color is always 
freely applied and broken. This gives a light and airy 
atmosphere in a harmony of pink, yellow, and pale 
green tones. The fact that the picture is unfinished gives 
it a lack of formality which is important to the general 
effect. The only sharp angle, that at the meeting of the 
line of the top of the wall and the direction of Madame 
Cezanne's figure, serves to emphasize her rather prim and 
sprightly pose. 

PLATE 2 2 

Painted 1800—1894 

The Art Institute of Chicago 
23 x i6Yi" 

This still life could almost be called a vocabulary of 
Cezanne's language in his mature period. The subject is 
expressed in terms of the utmost simplicity and, at the 
same time, the maximum conviction. The vase of flowers 
has been placed so that we see it as in a close-up. This 
is done by turning up the table surface arbitrarily, and 
by making the leaves of the tulips pass beyond the outer 
edge of the canvas. Each object— the apples, the vase, the 
table— is reduced to the simplest shape. With the excep- 
tion of the smaller flowers, there is a complete lack of 
detail, and yet we are intensely aware of the identity of 
each one of the objects represented. The space in which 
they stand is clearly expressed, and we feel the air behind 
the flowers and the table. However, the tilting of the 
table surface already referred to, and the intensity of the 
color of the apple which is half hidden by the vase, 
create a bond between the surface and the background of 
the picture which strengthens the two-dimensional com- 
position. The over-all brightness and liveliness are due to 
the color composition of contrasting reds and greens, and 
to the intensity of these colors. 


Painted 1892—1894 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Ira Hauft y New York 

25H x 2I l /4" 

Toward the end of his life Cezanne returned to the 
romanticism of his early youth. This landscape was 
painted at the beginning of that period and is unusual 
in his work because its dramatic effect is produced by 
an anecdotal detail, the dark crack running vertically 
through the wall, rather than by the general treatment 
of colors and forms. The result is more theatrical than 

The crack seems to have its root in a larger break at 
the base of the big rock to the right. The contrast be- 
tween the size and permanence of this rock and the 
weaker structure of the little house, together with the 
thin tree trunks and the rather low and pale horizon line, 
combine to give the impression of a barren wilderness, 
which is further emphasized by the crisscross pattern 
of the vegetation and rocks in the foreground and the 
windswept branches of the trees to the left. The dark 
green silhouette of the pine tree behind the house adds 
to the dramatic effect produced by the black window and 
the gaping crack. 

fortiori of flate 2j (of en fage offosite) 


Painted 1898— 1900 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Carroll S. Tyson, Philadelphia 
29 x s6 l A" 

Cezanne painted this scene representing an abandoned 
quarry in the woods not far from his own house near 
Aix. Towards the end of his life, this was the sort of 
place which best suited his bitter and melancholy mood. 
Like Poussin, by placing the blocks of stone which have 
geometrical shapes in the foreground, he has given this 
part of the picture a certain intellectual clarity and bal- 
ance. However, the waving lines of the tree trunks and 
the free treatment of the heavy foliage give the impres- 
sion of a wilderness. It is this contrast between the calm 
and rational and the wild and instinctive which gives the 
picture its character. 

The restrained color harmony of browns, greens, and 
dulled blues, without any touches of vivid color, main- 
tains the over-all unity of the composition and is admi- 
rably suited to the atmosphere of the scene. 

fortiori of plate 25 (open page opposite) 


Painted 1898— 1 905 

Philadelphia Museum of Art (Wilstach Collection) 

This is Cezanne's largest picture. He worked on it for 
at least eight years; studies and sketches show that he 
planned it during almost thirty years of his life. It was 
to be the culmination of a lifelong ambition to create 
his own personal version of the large figure compositions 
by the great masters of the past whom he admired most: 
Tintoretto, Rubens, Poussin, and Delacroix. However, 
he never finished the canvas, and we know from his own 
statements that it presented a problem to which he had 
not found the right solution. The landscape, with the 
two figures standing on the far side of the stream, the 
fields, and the church partly hidden by a wood, is suc- 
cessful. One feels that this was a part of the picture 
where he was completely sure of himself. It is in the 
figures that this sureness is missing and that the princi- 
pal weakness of the picture lies. As he grew older, 
Cezanne became increasingly timid and fearful as far 
as women were concerned, and was always uncomfort- 
able in representing the female body. In speaking about 
this picture, he complained that the women looked like 
soldiers whom he had sketched bathing in the river, 
and bemoaned the fact that women were such dreadful 


Painted i8go—i8g5 

Collection Jakob Goldschmidt, New York 
36% x 28Ya" 

This portrait of a sad and pensive youth standing before 
a heavy curtain has many of the characteristics of 
Cezanne's late work. The pose and the basic structure 
of the picture were probably inspired by some sixteenth- 
century Venetian portrait, like the Veronese Portrait of 
a Man in the Colonna Collection, where the model has 
the same languid pose and has a similar curtain draped 
behind him. 

However, the two elements which really give the pic- 
ture its character are the creation of Cezanne: the in- 
tensely expressive drawing— the elongated left arm, the 
delicate hand, the almost incredibly sensitive mouth; 
and more important still, the rich color harmony made 
up of an infinite variety of tans and lavenders concen- 
trating on the bright red of the waistcoat. The nervous 
broken lines which add to the impression of fragility are 
also typical of Cezanne, as is the free and varied brush 
stroke. Such elements— the sharply emphasized outlines 
of the boy's right arm, for instance— lead straight to the 
early work of the Cubist painters of our century, Picasso, 
Braque, and Juan Gris. 


Painted 1895 

Courtauld Collection y London 
28 x 22V2" 

One of Cezanne's most graceful and charming works, 
it is, when analyzed, also one of the most interesting and 
surprising. In conjunction with a still life of apples, 
onions, and drapery, it contains two of his favorite 
models, plaster casts of a small Cupid by Puget and a 
statue of a flayed man (an anatomical study figure) 
once attributed to Michelangelo. 

The Cupid is strongly modeled in the round and 
stands firmly on a table with brightly colored apples and 
onions at his feet. Behind him there is a view of the 
studio with paintings leaning against the walls. But 
Cezanne has arbitrarily transformed the lines of scien- 
tific perspective. By breaking the outline of the canvas 
behind the statue and emphasizing the roundness of the 
pear or apple lying in the corner, he has counter- 
acted the effect of depth and maintained the integrity 
of the surface of the painting. This deliberate and 
closely-knit union of all the parts of a picture, was one 
of the qualities he admired so much in Poussin and 
tried so hard to attain himself. The simplification of 
forms to almost geometric patterns of circles and angles 
has been one of the chief sources of inspiration for the 
Cubist painters of our times. 



Fainted about 1900 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 
2§^i x 21%" 

Painted when he was in his sixties, this self-portrait is 
one of Cezanne's strongest and most successful. It is 
dispassionate and yet highly sensitive. It shows him sad 
and bitter as he had gradually become, and even gives a 
feeling of his loneliness. The eyes look at nothing, the 
face is sullen and yet extremely alive. The portrait tells 
the whole story of his disappointments, his isolation, and 
his great stubbornness, with extraordinary intensity. 

It is painted in a wonderful harmony of blues and reds, 
ranging from touches that are exquisitely pale and deli- 
cate to passages of great depth and resonance. In this 
richness and variety within such a limited color range, 
Cezanne shows himself to be the equal of Rembrandt 
and Delacroix. 

In contrast to the richness of the color, the structure 
and drawing are composed of a few forms of the utmost 
simplicity which are repeated throughout. The curve of 
the top of the beret occurs again in the forehead, in the 
ear, and again in the line of the shoulders. The sharp 
angular shape of the nose, which is so expressive, is 
repeated in the moustache, in the goatee, and again in 
the white collar. 


Painted 1885-1887 


The Metrofolitan Museum of Art y New York 
25 5 A * 3 l7 A>" 

The Mont Sainte-Victoire dominates all the countryside 
around Aix like a huge marble pyramid. The people of 
the region foretell the weather by the way it looks 
and have certain superstitious beliefs about it. Cezanne 
painted it over and over again, and at the end of his 
life it had become almost his only model. 

In this perfect example of his mature art, the moun- 
tain is partly hidden by trees and takes its place with the 
other forms in the landscape. The shrubbery and the 
trees in the foreground, and the wall of mountains and 
hills in the distance, create between them a crystal-clear 
body of space in the center, the quality of which is em- 
phasized by the pale blue sky. 

The color shows Cezanne's complete mastery of land- 
scape painting, ranging, always with incredible variety, 
from the brightest greens to the pale blue-pink in the 
distance, and always composed in order to keep the unity 
of the picture. The drawing is of the utmost simplicity: 
tree trunks are almost cylinders, foliage is made up by 
brush strokes in abstract shapes which nevertheless are 
completely convincing in their suggestion of nature. 


Painted 180 0—1894 


The A rt Institute of Chicago 
24H x 3 7 " 

Cezanne was very meticulous about composing his still 
life, and, like the Dutch masters of the seventeenth cen- 
tury whose work he studied in the Louvre, he carefully 
propped up the basket on a block or set the angle of an 
apple with a coin, until he had exactly what he wanted. 
The result is a cheerful and rather sunny painting. How- 
ever, its effect is quite different from what we find in the 
still life painting of other great painters. When Chardin, 
for example, paints fruit, he gives the texture of each 
surface so that we feel that we could eat it. Each one of 
Cezanne's apples is very definitely, almost aggressively, 
an apple, but its appeal is to our minds rather than to 
our appetites. It is a description of an apple in the 
simplest, most essential terms. 

The composition is made to carry our attention to the 
apples in the folds of the napkin lying on the table. 
Everything leads to this— the tipped-up basket, the angle 
of the lady-fingers, the folds of the napkin, the bottle 
like a dark exclamation point in the center. However, 
the richness and vitality of the picture are due to the 
brilliant color, the unexpected contrasts, and the sharp 
accents and vibrating, broken lines of the drawing. 

-— ;i *a8l*E£#> 





7 \ 









Plate 29. the mower. 1875-76. Pencil 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Ira Hauft y New York 

Plate 3 o. boy in a RED waistcoat. 1890-95. Water color 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. W. Feilchenfeldt, Zurich 


P/ate 3/. THE BATHERS. 1890-1900. Lithograph 
Museum of Modern Art, Neiv York 

Plate 32. study FOR the card players. 1890-92. Water color 
Collection Chauncey McCormick, Chicago 


[ f^l 






f T 



Plate S3- two studies of the artist's son. 1XJJ-7X. Pencil 
The Art Institute of Chicago (Arthur Heun Fund) 

y \ 

Plate 34. study after puget's "cupid." 1805-1000. Water color 
Collection Sam Salz, New York 

•I ( * 

*#r , *"*f 

i 0*- 

Plate 35. mont sainte-victoire. 1900-06. Water color. Tate Caller y\\ 






Plate 36. two studies of emile zola. 1879-85. Pencil 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Leigh B. Block, Chicago 



Plate 38. study of skulls. 1885. Water color 
Collection Erich Maria Remarque, New York 



Plate 39 . harlequin. 1888. Pencil and wash 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Ira Haupt, New York 


1839 Paul Cezanne (pronounced say-ZANN) born 

January 10, Aix-en-Provence, France. 

1852-58 Becomes close friend of Emile Zola at school 
in Aix. Father sends him to law school. 

1861-64 Studies art in Paris; associates with Renoir, 
Pissarro, Sisley, Monet. 

1870 Goes south to L'Estaque to avoid service in 

Franco-Prussian War; lives with Hortense 
Fiquet, who bears him a son two years later. 

1874-78 Exhibits with the Impressionists, but gradu- 
ally loses sympathy with their aims. His work 
ridiculed by critics and public. 

1884 His family allows marriage to Hortense. 

1886 Breaks with Zola whose portrayal of him as 

the heroic failure of his novel L'Oeuvre 
wounded Cezanne deeply. 

1900 Exhibits at Paris World's Fair. His following 

and reputation begin to grow. 

1904 Exhibition of thirty-three paintings at Salon 

d'Automne is a major vindication of his art. 

1906 Catches severe chill while painting and dies 
in Aix-en-Provence, October 22. 

1907 Important retrospective exhibition of fifty-six 
paintings at Salon d'Automne. 


"I am the primitive of a new art." 

"The realization of my sensation is always very difficult. I 
cannot attain the intensity that is unfolded before my 

"Drawing and color are not distinct. . . . When color is 
richest, form is finest." 

"Represent nature by means of the cylinder, the sphere, 
the cone, all placed in perspective." 

"Every time I come away from Poussin, I know myself 
better. ... I wish to make Poussin live again, according to 

"Chardin understood that objects are in contact with each 
other through intimate reflected colors, just as we are 
through our speech and our eyesight." 

"In the museum, the painter learns to think; before na- 
ture, he learns to see. It is absurd to imagine that we 
grow like mushrooms when we have all those generations 
behind us. Why not take advantage of all their work." 

"Our canvases are the milestones of Man — from the 
reindeer on the walls of caves to the cliffs of Monet— 
from the hunters, the fishermen who inhabit the tombs 
of Egypt, the comical scenes of Pompeii, the frescoes of 
Pisa and Siena, the mythological compositions of Vero- 
nese and Rubens, from all these the same spirit comes 
down to us. . . . We are all the same man. I shall add 
another link to this chain of color. My own blue link." 


Paul Cezanne. Letters, edited by John Rewald. London, 
B. Cassirer, 1941 

Roger Fry. Cezanne, A Study of his Development. New 
York, Macmillan, 1952 

(Reprint of an early essay by one of Cezanne's first 
and most sensitive English appreciators) 

Joachim Gasquet. Cezanne. Paris, F. Sant' Andrea, 1927 

Gerstle Mack. Paul Cezanne. New York, Alfred A. 
Knopf, 1935. (Popular, standard biography) 

Meyer Schapiro. Cezanne (The Library of Great Paint- 
ers). New York, Harry N. Abrams, 1952 

Lionello Venturi. Cezanne. Paris, Paul Rosenberg, 1936 
(Complete catalogue of paintings and graphic work) 


In a book of art, it seems particularly fitting to ac- 
knowledge the work of craftsmen who contribute to its 
making. The color plates were made by Litho-Art, 
Inc., New York. The lithography is from the presses 
of The Meehan-Tooker Co., Inc., New York and the 
binding has been done by F. M. Charlton Co., New 
York. The paper was made by P. H. Glatfelter & Co., 
York, Pa. Our deepest indebtedness is to the museums, 
galleries, and private collectors who graciously per- 
mitted the reproduction of their paintings, drawings, 
and sculpture. 






Hew York 



N Roussei 
hk PAUL 1 

.C425 New Y( 
R864 CI953 






Curator of Paintings, The Metropolitan Museum of Art 

Known as the "father of modern art," Paul Cezanne fash- 
ioned out of his revolutionary vision of nature an art as 
enduring as the greatest art of the past. Although his true great- 
ness was recognized by such contemporaries as Zola, Renoir, 
Degas, Gauguin, Van Gogh, and Rodin, he was neglected by 
the public and official opinion during his lifetime. When he 
died in Aix in 1906 his work had already become one of the 
profoundly shaping forces of twentieth-century art. 

More than fifty illustrations of Cezanne's work— including 
portraits, still lifes, views of Provence and the Mediterranean 
coast, watercolors, and drawings— are contained in this vol- 
ume. Thirty pages are in full color with six double-page size 
color plates. The watercolors and drawings are reproduced in 
black and white by a special duo-tone process. 

Mr. Rousseau's introduction and critical commentaries on 
each painting are a lucid and stimulating guide to the reader 
through this exhibition of one of the giants of art. 


Degas • El Greco • Toulouse-Lautrec • Renoir 

Matisse • Cezanne • Botticelli • French Impressionists 

Dufy • Van Gogh • Utrillo • Rembrandt 


Goya • Michelangelo • Raphael • Gauguin 

Pissarro • Picasso • Rubens • Manet • Seurat 

Daumier • Rouault • Chagall